Church to hold two-day music bash

MILFORD – Ten years ago, Mil­ford United Methodist Church moved into a beautiful new build­ing on a spacious lot on North River Road.

The congregation is going to celebrate that anniversary with a Christian music festival on Saturday-Sunday, Aug. 27-28.

Church members re­cently talked with the Rev. Casey Collins and "decided the celebration can’t be about us. We’ve got to lift someone up," said Steve Rafter, who was on the building committee 10 years ago and has been planning the festival.

The church already had a relationship with Great­er Nashua Habitat for Hu­manity, so it decided to make the festival a benefit for the nonprofit, which helps needy people build houses for themselves.

The event is called Hopefest 2016, and two na­tionally known Christian artists, Mark Schultz and Ryan Stevenson, will be the headliners on the eve­ning of Saturday, Aug. 27.

Local artists include Jo­nas Woods, Ryan Bossie, the band Epic Season, the Rock My Soul Gospel Choir and the New Fel­lowship Baptist Church Choir. Gates will open at 9 a.m. Saturday, with Epic Season kicking off the mu­sic at 10.

There will be camping on the big field behind the church, and arts and craft vendors, children’s activi­ties and food.

Another New Hamp­shire Christian music festival, SoulFest, brings several thousand people each summer to the Gun­stock Mountain Resort in Gilford.

Rafter said he is hop­ing for 700-1,000 people, and organizers have been trained on crowd control by the Milford Fire De­partment.

The field is about the size of a football field and can hold much more than that, Rafter said. There will be overflow parking available in one of the Trombly fields and a shuttle bus.

Greater Nashua Habi­tat for Humanity serves a 14-town area that extends from Windham to Green­ville. Over the last seven years, it has built only seven houses but has done many smaller home proj­ects, said Rafter, who said he thinks many people don’t know it exists.

"We want to raise awareness of the wonder­ful work they do," Rafter said. "There are plenty of people around here" who could use their help.

The Merrimack Home Depot is donating materi­als and volunteers, but it is still a huge challenge to put on an event such as this for the first time. Rafter calls it a "leap of faith. … It’s amazing to see how God makes things happen."

Tickets are $40, $35 for seniors, and no charge for children 12 and younger. For tickets, visit hope festnh.org. To volunteer, email info@hopefestnh.org, or call Rafter at 582-1352 or the office at 673-2669.